January 12, 2001

Plague Time: How Health Infections Cause Cancers, Heart Disease, and Other Deadly Ailments

Guest: Paul Ewald.

Today on Focus, we'll talk to a challenger of the conventional knowledge that our genes and environments are the causes of most serious illnesses, including cancer and heart disease. Paul Ewald believes that these problems, among others—ulcers, miscarriages, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's—all come from infectious origins. He'll talk about what led him to this conclusion and his book Plague Time today on the show.

December 19, 2000

Astronomy: The Little Book of Stars

Guest: Jim Kaler.

Today on Focus, we'll discuss how modern astronomers have come to understand the stars with Jim Kaler, author of The Little Book of Stars. The book tells the story of the stars, from their births to their violent deaths. It also looks at how humans have used the stars to keep time and to navigate, and explains what stars have taught us about the forces at work in the universe. We'll tackle all this and more on the show.

November 30, 2000

Mean Genes: From Sex to Money: Taming Our Primal Instincts

Guests: Terry Burnham and Jay Phelan.

How much of human behavior is genetically determined? We'll revisit this age-old question this morning on Focus as we talk with authors Terry Burnham and Jay Phelan. They claim that humans are well adapted to the environment in which they originated, but since we no longer live as hunter-gatherers, our basic instincts can lead to harmful behaviors. They also argue that knowing this can help us control our behavior and lead us to happier lives.

October 08, 1999

Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge

Guest: Edward O. Wilson.

How are chemistry, biology, and art all related? Today on Focus, we'll talk to entomologist Edward Wilson, author of Consilience. In his recent book, he discusses links between fields of science, from brain chemistry to the biology of cave paintings. We'll explore these remarkable syntheses today on the show.

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